I’m glad I told my best friend I was devastated when she got pregnant

Guest post by Alison Grimley
Best friend necklace from Etsy seller YesOrNoDesign
Best friend necklace from Etsy seller YesOrNoDesign

My best friend and I have been inseparable since we were five years old. As young adults, we rented a house together and have only become closer year after year. Earlier this year, her husband walked me down the aisle! We’re more like sisters than friends.

In February, my BFF announced that she was pregnant. After almost a year of trying and two early miscarriages, this news was incredible. Her excitement was obvious and beautiful — so I was shocked by the way I felt. Beneath my happiness I was… devastated.

You never hear these kinds of feelings expressed out loud and you never read about them on any blog — but I suspect they are more common than you’d think. It’s just that people like me are ashamed of the ugly way we feel in response to what is such happy news. I’m going to challenge that taboo here and now because I believe so many friendships fall at this hurdle because we can’t talk openly and honestly about the way we feel about our relationships changing.

Digging deep, I was just so jealous! Not jealous of her — jealous of the baby! I resented this new person who was crashing into our lives, who she would love so much more than me.

I hated the fact that she would actively choose to spend time with this new person when I’d usually be her first choice. I ranted to myself that she would become a “baby bore” but the truth was I felt pushed out and I was scared of losing my friend. I was scared she’d change.

And here’s the thing — she will change. Not as a person — having a baby doesn’t alter your personality — but her priorities will be different; they damn well should be.

She will adore this tiny new person more than she’s ever adored anything or anyone in her life. She will find a wobbly tooth or some weirdly coloured crap more interesting than anything we could ever do together! But you know what? This baby is coming.

Talking to my friend about these ugly feelings was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m so glad I did. It transpires that she is scared, too; scared of losing her friendships and scared of losing herself.

Our friendship isn’t going to change as such but we are moving into a new phase, a phase where she is Mum and I’m Auntie Ali for a large portion of the time. There are going to be three people in our little bubble now and, you know what, I’m really excited. I can’t wait to hold my little not-niece or not-nephew for the first time.

Comments on I’m glad I told my best friend I was devastated when she got pregnant

  1. Thanks for being so forthcoming and exploring deeper into your feelings than just “she’s going to be boring now.” I’m going to have a baby in six weeks (ah!) and I worry about friends shutting down or shutting me out or putting me into a mental “mom” box and putting me on the shelf. It’s good to hear from the non-pregnant friend side because I don’t want to be forgotten either!

  2. I felt similar feelings when my sister told me she was pregnant. I was 20 and she was 22. It wasn’t the same situation as yours. We were JUST starting to become real friends. I was excited about a baby, but at the time I was more excited about being able to go out for a drink for the first time and go dancing. Anyway, that was 14 years ago, and now we are becoming close again. Our lives are on a more similar path.

  3. I’m curious, did you feel the same way when she got married? Because clearly that results in a change of priorities and BFF-time. But either way, good for you for talking it out!

  4. I feel ya on this, but it takes so much support to be a mom (especially when you’re the first of your friends!) I was the first of my friends to have kids, and then moved away and what contact i still have with my pre-baby friends is so much richer than that talking about poo and other baby stuff. Be there for your friend and your relationship with only develop into something stronger and more beautiful than before.

  5. I think what you did was awesome and likely avoided soo much weirdness and bad feeling later on, especially on the part of your new mommy friend. I speak from experience-I had my second kid a few years ago, and one of my closest friends acted as if he just didn’t exist. When we’d talk, she’d never ask about him or anything-it was like it hadn’t even happened! And even weirder, she had always been a big part of my first sons life; there’s a 14 year gap between the kids. I was really hurt, but we never talked about it. She got over it and things are fine now, but man, I just wished she’d have talked to me about whatever was bothering her! Would have saved me countless hours of trying to figure out what was happening, and she may have felt better too.

  6. Thank for all the comments everyone. Reply for Jaya – no, I didn’t feel weird when she got married but her husband is also a very good friend and, well, let’s be honest, nothing was really changing – they’d been together over 10 yrs by that point!!

  7. I’m glad you found a way to articulate your feelings. I attempted to do that with a friend of mine and it was only when her daughter was going on three that I learned that I’d shared how I felt in a way that pushed her away. Thankfully, like all real friendships, we worked our way through it, but it wasn’t easy.

    • Oh, and I should add that I wasn’t so much jealous of the baby, or that she was pregnant, but that at 38 and she at 39, it was going to put more pressure on me to get married and have a kid in order to look normal. Some people can love kids and not want to actually have one. It is scary for people like me when my friends get pregnant. I’m afraid of being rejected. It hasn’t worked that way at all, by the way. Quite the reverse. My friend is as likely to turn to me when she has parenting issues as any of her mom friends. : )

  8. My best friend felt the same way. I told her that love is infinite. There is no limit to how much love people can give. I can love my daughter, my husband, my sister, my parents, and her all at the same time as much as I ever did. I am tired more these days, and my schedule isn’t as flexible as it used to be. But y’know what? That makes me all the more grateful for the time she and I get to spend together. And she is absolutely in love with baby!

  9. Tbh, I WISH I had some non-mom friends still. It gets so boring talking about kids all the time. You don’t mean to, and maybe you keep trying to talk about other things, but it seems to ALWAYS come back to kid-talk. I wish I had someone who I could talk about non-kid stuff with!! So let your BFF have her mommy-groups and baby-centric activities – because she’ll be desperate to talk to you about ANYTHING other than poopy diapers after a while…. 🙂

    • Stacy, as a non-mom, I also wish I had some non-mom friends still (I totally thought that was your situation until I re-read the last phrase in your comment).

      It’s boring for us, too! I don’t mean to, and I don’t want to be a jerk to my mom-friends, but I do find myself spending less and less time with folks. I’m just not that interested in coming over to their house to sit on the couch and try to stuff conversation into the moments that fall between necessary kid-care adorable kid-admiring. Sigh.

    • I don’t have children–but my friends do. Pretty much every single one of them. It’s a package deal. I love their kids and I get involved in their lives as an aunt. I guess because I feel personally invested in the kids as part of my family and I spend time with them on a personal level, I look at the kids as an added bonus to my friendship. I recently moved away from my best friend and her 3 children…and I miss the kids as much as I miss her. I have two other best friends. One just had a baby, and one is pregnant with her 3rd. Her daughter and I are very close and have a special bond. All I feel is love and excitement….and being anxious to be an aunt once again!

  10. I wish my then best friend of 11 years had the balls to have told me too. She had recently gone through a nasty breakup with her long term partner because he didn’t want kids when i found out i was pregnant.
    Instead she said she was okay with it, and pretended there wasn’t a giant elephant in the room.
    Needless to say, we are no longer friends. My new life path was too much for her to cope with and she pushed me away instead of talking to me.

  11. I’m glad you had a friend who could sit down and talk through these feelings with you. While ugly, I’m pretty sure they’re very normal. Honesty is my policy when it comes to feelings and it hasn’t served me very well, but none of my friends are as close as you described you and your BFF to be. I envy that!

  12. I wish my friend who struggled with infertility had the same strength. It’s been hard- I can tell it’s hurting her to be happy for me.

    • As someone struggling with infertility while having good friends become pregnant, it may not be that she’s having trouble being happy for you. Rather, it may be that she’s having two competing emotions at the same time: happiness for you, and pain in her own life at the same time — and her own pain may just be showing more than her happiness for you. But it may not mean that her happiness for you doesn’t exist. If that makes sense.

      • It makes absolute sense, Hayley. As another woman struggling with infertility this is exactly how I feel. I can experience extreme joy for my friend while also being reminded of my own inability to get pregnant, which makes me feel like crap.

  13. I definitely had a really difficult time when one of my oldest friends got pregnant. I was turning 37, two years older than her, not in a relationship, was pretty blah about my job, and my son died during labor three years prior . She was married, plenty of childbearing years ahead of her, had a business she loved, and was absolutely thrilled and terrified about being pregnant. We talked a LOT about her fears and mine – she was afraid to talk with me about the pregnancy because of how mine ended, I wanted to browbeat her into making sure she enjoyed the pregnancy just in case, etc. etc. It was REALLY hard, and we both cried a few times. She understood that I couldn’t go to her baby shower, and that there would be times I wouldn’t be able to hold Garrett, and I understood that she was going to talk about the baby a LOT, and sometimes she would not be able to be around me because of her sadness at my son’s death and what I was missing. BUT, it was SO worth it! In the end, I got an AWESOME not-nephew who grabs me by the hand to drag me around and show me everything he’s gotten into, who calls me on his mom’s phone to ask me to come over for dinner, and who loves me like crazy, even if it’s sometimes just so he can play Angry Birds on my cell phone.

    AND, my friend and I are as close as ever.

  14. Thanks for sharing! My sister and I had a similar difficult conversation when I became pregnant. We went from living together for five years to me living 1 1/2 hours away with my husband and baby and us only being able to see each other once a month. It’s been rough but it means we do savor the little time we do spend together.

  15. I was definitely freaked out when my best friend got pregnant; she was also the first of my good friends to have a baby. But I will tell you, I had a totally unexpected emotional response to the baby. I love him more than I ever could have imagined. And I normally don’t like babies. And I didn’t want kids at the time (although now I do).

  16. I knew eventually my friendship with my best friend would change, but with her it was almost IMMEDIATELY. As soon as the 1st trimester kicked in, she disappeared. We hadn’t been super close for a long time (like 18 months), so I didn’t quite know what to expect. We had our first tense moments in those first few weeks (which I was ok with…to me it was a sign we were getting closer). But instead of leaning into our friendship to help her through those difficult moments, she turned AWAY from me. The few moments I reached out to her when I needed my best friend, she’d just email me some canned sentiments. It hurt a lot, but it was good to SEE the truth. To know it really wasn’t a true “best friendship.”

    I love her and wish her the best in her new life. I’m moving forward to build more authentic friendships.

    • Having just gone through the first trimester of a pregnancy, I can say that I had never really realized how bad it can be – and I’m having a pretty normal pregnancy. I always thought of the “real” part of pregnancy as the later part where a woman looks quite pregnant. And of course some women have a really easy first trimester. But it’s also totally normal for a woman to find out she’s pregnant and then almost immediately to become constantly nauseous, and debilitatingly exhausted. Personally, I put everyone and everything on hold for the whole first trimester – best friends, family, everyone. I wasn’t “leaning into” anywhere but on the toilet. I wasn’t even emailing canned sentiments. I could barely function at work, and outside of work I was either sleeping, zoning out on the couch trying to distract myself from the exhaustion and nausea, or occasionally lying on the bathroom floor. Holding up my end of a phone conversation was really tough, and I definitely wasn’t up for going out anywhere. And like I said, after talking to other women, my experience sounds like an average-to-slightly-tough first trimester – it’s not like it was abnormally hard.

      Things got way better during the second trimester, which, again, is apparently pretty normal. And I reconnected with everyone. I have to say, I’m very glad that none of my friends decided during this time that I wasn’t being a true friend.

      I know that I’m way late to this conversation, but if anyone else is feeling like a pregnant friend is acting weird or unfriendly even though they JUST found out about a pregnancy, it may not be that they’re trying to ghost you or anything – they might just be feeling like complete crap.

  17. Thanks for giving me a different perspective. My best friend and I live very far apart, so we only communicate through texts and social media. We’re both very introverted people, so it works. She does not like children, and she even confided in me that she has distanced herself from friends once they had kids in the past. When I found out I was pregnant I was terrified to tell her, but when I finally did, she said she was happy for me and said she would never stop being friends with me. She even asked me about baby names and seemed genuinely excited to talk names, so I thought we were in the clear. Fast forward a couple months and now she hardly talks to me. I haven’t brought up babies once since I told her about the pregnancy. I text her and ask how’s she’s doing and I try to talk to her about things we’re both interested in, but she doesn’t text back for days. She won’t keep the conversation going anymore and she never asks about me. I would never expect her to talk about pregnancy and baby stuff, but she used to ask how my job or hobbies were going and now she doesn’t seem to care. It’s breaking my heart, but maybe she is feeling like she won’t be important to me after the baby. Our friendship is so important to me and I’ve tried to show that by talking to her like we always have. I wish she would tell me what’s wrong.

  18. I recently had a similar experience, but for a different reason. My spouse and I tried for a couple of years for a pregnancy with no luck; then, my health took a complete nose-dive and I am now in essence completely disabled. Given that I am already 35, and this is not a condition that is ever likely to completely go away, it is looking increasingly like children are not in the cards for us, even though we both want kids very much.

    So when I learned that my BF/non-related “sister” was pregnant… I was, as you so aptly put it, devastated. And then I felt guilty for feeling that way. I am happy for her, of course.. but every time I think about it, I feel like someone is squeezing my chest until I can barely breathe, too.

  19. Pleeease keep sending news and memes and fun texts even if she doesn’t always reply! I think my friends felt like they were bothering me by texting me but really I wanted their contact and love but didn’t always have the mental energy to respond or remember to text them. Then I felt bad when I didn’t hear from them.

    Ordering a meal for delivery is good too, or gift cards to places to get food. Also just being an ear for her to rant to, even if you don’t understand it all is great too. I’m sure she also values your friendship and wants to maintain it!

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